Arusha, November 15, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has allowed the prosecution to call eight extra witnesses to challenge the defence of alibi for former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware that he was not in Rwanda as of April 23 to May 23, 1994.

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"The Chamber considers that the accused's alibi for the period of April 23 to May 23, 1994 was not reasonably foreseeable with the degree of detail necessary to preclude the calling of rebuttal evidence thereon," reads part of the decision dated November 14, 2011.

It noted that the alibi evidence for the accused that within the period in question he was in Senegal and Swaziland arose only in the course of his testimony in contravention of defence disclosure obligations under the Rules.  It ruled, therefore, that the anticipated testimonies of the witnesses "may contradict portions of the accused's alibi, (hence) have significant probative value."

Therefore, the Chamber ordered the prosecution to present its rebuttal witnesses immediately after the close of the defence case expected in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the rules, the defence is also entitled to call witnesses to produce "evidence in rejoinder" to contradict such rebuttal evidence, if need arises.

The defence hearing resumes on January 30, 2012. Three witnesses have remained to testify for Ngirabatware. Already 31 witnesses have testified for him since he opened his defence case on November 16, 2010.

The prosecution closed its case on August 31, 2010, after presenting 20 witnesses, in attempt to support charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

Ngirabatware was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007 and transferred to ICTR custody in Arusha, Tanzania on October 8, 2008. His trial took off on September 22, 2009.


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